fighting spam and scams on the Internet
"419" Scam – Advance Fee / Fake Lottery Scam
The so-called "419" scam is a type of fraud dominated by criminals from Nigeria and other countries in Africa. Victims of the scam are promised a large amount of money, such as a lottery prize, inheritance, money sitting in some bank account, etc.
Victims never receive this non-existent fortune but are tricked into sending their money to the criminals, who remain anonymous. They hide their real identity and location by using fake names and fake postal addresses as well as communicating via anonymous free email accounts and mobile phones.
Keep in mind that scammers DO NOT use their real names when defrauding people.
The criminals either abuse names of real people or companies or invent names or addresses.
Any real people or companies mentioned below have NO CONNECTION to the scammers!
Read more about such scams here or in our 419 FAQ. Use the Scam-O-Matic to verify suspect emails.
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Some comments by the Scam-O-Matic about the following email:
- This email uses a separate reply address that is different from the sender address. Spammers use this to get replies even when the original spam sending accounts have been shut down. Also, sometimes the sender addresses are legitimate looking but fake and only the reply address is actually an email account controlled by the scammers.
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "with your full names" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million united states dollars" (they want you to be blinded by the prospect of quick money, but the only money that ever changes hands in 419 scams is from you to the criminals)
- "contact me immediately" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
Fraud email example:
From: Mrs Kucera Keefe <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 29 Aug 2011 12:55:42 +0100 (BST)
Subject: My Name is Mrs.Kucera Keefe,
My Name is Mrs.Kucera Keefe, Please i grave your Indulgence.
Permit me to inform you of my desire to introduce to you into this humanitarians work. I decided to do this after praying over the situation. You should please consider the transaction on its content and not the fact that you have not known me before.
I need not dwell on how I came by your contact information because there are many such possibilities these days. I would like to introduce myself as
Mrs.Kucera Keefe, of Republic of Benin , A widow to Late Dr. Benjamin Keefe (former Counselor of the Benin Embassy in Madrid , Spain . I have been recently diagnosed of Cancer of the Pelvic. I am writing to you now from my sick bed here in the hospital.
There is us$16.M (Sixteen Million United States Dollars) my husband has in a bank in ( BENIN ) of which I am the next of kin. With my health condition and because my husband and I have no child, I decide to contact you so that I will pass the right of next of kin to you.
This is on the condition that you will take only 40% of the fund for yourself, , while you will use the remaining 60% for the less privileges people in the society.
This is in fulfillment of the last request of my late husband: that a substantial part of the fund be used to carter for the less privilege people, If this condition is acceptable to you, you should contact me immediately with your full names and contact information's so that I will have the trust to pass the right of next of kin to you.
I cannot predict what will be my fate by the time the fund will be transferred into your account, but you should please ensure that the fund is used as I have described above. Please call my doctor at +229 98-09-13-84 to speak to me.